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Re: Emacs's popularity (was: Distributed Maintenance for Emacs)

From: Jonathan Groll
Subject: Re: Emacs's popularity (was: Distributed Maintenance for Emacs)
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 15:18:02 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.13 (Linux mail i686)

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 02:19:00PM -0800, Drew Adams wrote:
General lamentation about the relative popularity of Emacs wrt vi,
TextPad, or
anything else is what I don't understand.

Emacs is one of my favourite items of technology, software or
For me personally, the sadness comes from realising that there are
many potential Emacs users who will never get to try out Emacs or give
it a full investigation, either because it is not available on default
installs, or because of anti-Emacs sentiment.

Vi/m and Emacs occupy different niches - I enjoy Emacs because it is
amodal, and also because it is after all the extensible text editor -
even a beginner user cannot avoid harnessing some elisp in their
.emacs. I can also see how Vi/m is appealing - the near-universal
availability, small foot print and control without modifier keys are
all attractive features. For many of us though, it makes little sense
to learn multiple editors.

Not sure where I am picking this up from and maybe it is only
persecution mentality, but it seems to me that in some quarters Emacs
has been perceived to be an item of hilarity only to be seriously used
by bearded software freedom types (judging by some recent comments I
have seen on IRC and heard on assorted podcasts - Lugradio I'm looking
at you), am I feeling overly persecuted or is that a sentiment others
are also experiencing? Even among geeks we get picked on!!!
On the other hand, in recent times there have also been many positive
reviews of the new releases of Emacs, excellent Emacs screencasts, and
bloggers (such as Steve Yegge) have also been helping to introduce
users to Emacs, so it has not been all negative publicity.
I personally don't care if Emacs is never the most popular editor on
the planet, but I do care that it is given a fair chance to be
evaluated on it's merit.


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